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Personal Priorities

First, I know I should do some writing up of a few weekly status updates, those will follow soon - I still have a quite large backlog of TODO items from the last weeks. But here's something I want to get into the public first:

As you might know, my recent visit to the US was not just for pleasure, but also for having a number of talks with people at Mozilla in Mountain View, some of which were centered around the very core of SeaMonkey - and even about myself to some degree.

In those talks, around them, and in the followup, even during my vacation time, I came to think a lot about esp. my personal future. I knew before that I'm putting too much strain on myself currently, but having no free room for creative or visionary thinking and being constantly on edge, working mostly on "should have been done a long time ago" items instead of fun and future-oriented things even felt worse when I gained some distance to it - first with the different work environment and orientation I saw in the Mozilla offices, then with relaxing some when driving around and doing sightseeing and things like that, almost without any pressure of timeframes or things that have to be done "yesterday".

Now I surely can work in an environment where I have a list of things I need to do, but I need to get off the state where I feel that a lot of things will never happen if I don't take them on, and where I have to work overly long hours constantly just to stay on top of things. Apart from that, I need to "get a life", just for my own sanity. And finding time for finally finishing my studies and get that Master's degree would be a good thing as well.

I have been in the SeaMonkey project for a few years now, and it surely has been a fun ride, I learned that I can do and love release and project driving, that I can keep a good overview of what's going on in such a project as well as the overall Mozilla community (even though one can never know everything there), but we are at a point where both the SeaMonkey project and me need to go in new directions, and I'm not yet sure if those are aligned at all.

I'm coming more and more to think that this might be the point where I need to go a different path than this project. I'm not convinced of this view yet, but I know that my life has to change in a few ways - apart from going back to a more humane amount of work, I need to free myself from constantly fighting an uphill battle that very much of the time seems to be fought against people who actually should be friends. I want to be able to spend resources on making the web more open, to improve privacy and identity management for people on the Internet, to make social contacts a story of freedom instead of walled gardens - and I'm not sure if the road the SeaMonkey project is taking will allow me to do that, as up to this time, the routine of what I'm doing has not enabled me to do that and I don't see the playing field for our project getting significantly nicer. I'm trying to rebalance my personal priorities, and this project might not be the impersonation of those any more.

Still, I have a lot of heart in this project, I love the people working on it, who I see as very dedicated, efficient and passionate, and I surely am fond of browser/messaging integration as well as having advanced features at the top of your fingertips. Wherever I'm going, I will support SeaMonkey in the transition to the future that is upcoming for this project - and I really want to see it succeed - with or without me being actively there.

I haven't decided where I'm going or if I fully stay with SeaMonkey, and as I said, I will fully support the transition, so no need to panic or something like that. What I have decided is that I need to change my personal priorities to match the man I want to be better, and to leave some room for ideas, visions, and some "real life" (whatever that is). ;-)

Beitrag geschrieben von KaiRo und gepostet am 28. Oktober 2010 13:50 | Tags: future, Mozilla, personal, SeaMonkey | 22 Kommentare | TrackBack

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AutorBeitrag

Denis

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OGood Luck!
Good luck to you, Robert, whatever road you take!
29.10.2010 06:21

Gerv

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OThe Future of SeaMonkey
I think the question the SeaMonkey project needs to (regularly) ask itself is:

* Is the difference between

SeaMonkey

and:

Firefox + Thunderbird + Kompozer + Chatzilla + purpose-built addons for SeaMonkey features + a set of SeaMonkey themes + good desktop integration so they all work well together

big enough to be worth the amount of effort the team is putting into SeaMonkey?

I'm not saying there is no difference, but it's possible that the functionality of the individual apps, plus the capabilities of the addons and themes systems, plus the improvements in desktop integration hooks, might together mean that the difference is small compared to the opportunity cost of doing SeaMonkey.

Opportunity cost is where you can't do thing B because you are doing thing A. It's another way of saying that there are only 24 hours in every day. You've got a set of important priorities - "making the web more open, [improving] privacy and identity management for people on the Internet, [making] social contacts a story of freedom instead of walled gardens" - and at the moment, those things are B and SeaMonkey is A.

You might decide SeaMonkey might be better reconstituted as an "app bundle" which bundles the four projects above, a theme and some addons, plus some configuration work. Or you might decide to carry on as now. Or you might decide to wind things up altogether.

But I think you need to ask the question. What is the difference, and how big is it?

Gerv
29.10.2010 10:29

franck

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OSounds like really promising. Wish you find the best path for your creativity. Maybe into Seamonkey project.
29.10.2010 10:54

KaiRo

Webmaster

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O
Quote of Gerv:
But I think you need to ask the question. What is the difference, and how big is it?

Thanks for that statement, Gerv, and you're absolutely right in the direction you're pointing, though it's IMHO not Firefox+Thunderbird+KompoZer+ChatZilla, it's Firefox + various add-ons and web apps that achieve the required functionality. We have been asking the question, and it looks like most of the SeaMonkey community is too tied to the separate product and project to go far enough in even thinking it over. Still, I'm willing to, and willing to question if the SeaMonkey product in its current form has a future at all. I can't answer that right now, but my difference in thinking here is one of the reasons why I'm not sure if my future still lies with SeaMonkey.
29.10.2010 16:18

Daniel Glazman

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OYeah...
I agree with Gerv here. It's going to be harder and harder to keep Seamonkey up to date and able to cope with the new features of Firefox, Thunderbird, BlueGriffon and other standalone apps. The work of n teams cannot be integrated by one single team easily, or at least at same speed.
I understand perfectly your concerns about the future of Seamonkey. Many people (really *many*) insulted (really *insulted*) me when I said that I will not contribute to Seamonkey because I do believe the editor has to live as a standalone tool. I maintain that opinion and that's why I'm giving all my time to BlueGriffon w/o caring about a backport to Seamonkey.

Any, best of luck for the future. I know how hard it is to carry a project like yours and I understand perfectly what "lassitude" means. You rock, Robert...
30.10.2010 18:47

Pete

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OWhy?
Hi Robert,
I use Netscape since 1.0 and I also use the current Seamonkey version. So, it's sad when it vanishes. But on the other hand, what is the real use of it? It's nice to have a one-in-all app like opera but in the long run, you can't keep up the speed Mozilla, MS and Webkit currently have in their build system. So, my recommendation is to stop the whole thing even if you'll feel empty for a specific time. But in the long run you'll find something new which might be more compelling than hunting others trail.
Pete
31.10.2010 12:41

rsx11m

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OOn Gerv's question, I'd say that the differences between SeaMonkey and FF/TB are actually increasing rather than decreasing. Firefox is busy coping with its competitors MSIE, Chrome, and Safari, and I personally don't like the UX design either of those has been going (including FF 4.0). Thunderbird has to fight with Outlook and Apple Mail (and some of its own spin-offs) and growing webmail competition. Some of TB's UX-design and backend changes (which SeaMonkey didn't follow) haven't been well received, along with new search functions that conceptually sound good but turned out to be a resource hog and in some cases buggy.

Where does SeaMonkey fit into this mix? While it has to react to whatever happens in the core code, the current course of evaluating which feature is useful and what's not, thus retaining the basic user experience rather than making sudden changes while nevertheless benefiting from improvements, is just the way and want SeaMonkey to go. It has a solid user base which doesn't care about the pressure from what other browsers and e-mail clients do (and may actually catch former FF/TB users disagreeing with their course). Yes, that user base may be smaller than those for the mainstream-oriented applications, but it is strongly committed to the project and would certainly miss SeaMonkey if it wasn't there.
31.10.2010 15:03

Gervase Markham

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OThe Future of SeaMonkey
rsx11m: I can see those differences. The question is not "are there differences", but "are there differences which could be minimised by doing a new theme for e.g. Thunderbird"? Disable gloda by default, change the UI how you like it... and then does a big enough difference remain for it to be worth doing a whole separate software project, or do you say "OK, so the result isn't perfect, but wow, do I have a lot more spare time now!"

Gerv
01.11.2010 14:34

KaiRo

Webmaster

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OGerv, rsx11m, glazou:
It's good to have this discussion about the future of the SeaMonkey product or it's relevance, but note that the post here is and was purely about me personally - the SeaMonkey project will even exist if I may go a different way.
I for myself have a feeling that my targets might not align with SeaMonkey's as much any more as they did previously, and I'm still evaluating possibilities.
The project is taking a large and big step by itself, which I will help in the transition, but I'm not sure if I'll be with it in the mid to long term. SeaMonkey will go on though - even if I think the product also will need some changes if it wants to survive in the long haul.
01.11.2010 21:49

rsx11m

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OHi KaiRo, sorry for the off-topic discussion. I just fail to see how reducing SeaMonkey to an add-on would be desirable or even suitable to make any impact of the efforts necessary, given that much of the backend code is shared already anyway, and that such an extension would only overlay 80%+whatever of the browser/mail UI which would equally need to be maintained. While I certainly hope that you will continue to be part of the project (and I see that a milestone like getting a masters degree is a good reason to reevaluate one's priorities and directions), I'm confident that SeaMonkey will continue to assert its place among the Gecko applications, one way or the other.
02.11.2010 02:24

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